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Displacement (2016) Directed by Kenneth Mader




Out of all genres science-fiction is probably one of the tougher ones to tackle for film-makers. It's not only hard to standout but it's also hard to come up with something that works out as convincing and engaging enough as well as imaginative and creative. It's even harder when you don't have much of a budget to spend and have to mostly rely on the story and acting, rather than the special-effects and spectacle. In that regard I really respect this movie and consider it to be a quite good and successful one.

Good news is that this movie is fine and watchable, but bad news is that it's hardly anything that memorable or original. I'm not even going to attempt to name some of the movies this one is 'borrowing' from, simply because there are far too many to name. The problem with it is that it isn't doing it in a creative enough way of its own. It isn't ever hiding the fact how heavily it got influenced by a bunch of other, more popular, genre films. On the one hand it's good how it isn't trying to hide it but it at the same time definitely goes at the expense of its own credibility. It even really took me out of the movie at times.

The movie overall still manages to tell a decent story though. It's well written, multilayered and well through out, even though the movie definitely becomes a bit too hard to follow at times, mostly due to its 'science' elements. It does make the movie somewhat less fun and interesting to watch at times but I absolutely never felt bored of fed up with things. It doesn't take things too far, as some genre movies that take themselves far too serious can do.

It's also true that the movie does make things needlessly hard for itself as well though. It's not always the best told movie and the fact that it involves time traveling doesn't make the movie any simpler en more pleasant to follow. Things aren't always told chronologically and different time-lines keep clashing with each other. There are a few too many needless distractions in it, that in the end just don't add enough to the story. Not all of the developments and twists are as convincing as the other though. Perhaps it's also true that the movie thinks it's being more clever than it in fact truly is. I wouldn't necessarily call the movie a pretentious one, after all, it's never going too far with it, but it does have some obvious pretentious tendencies, with its visuals, as well as with its story.

It's low budget is also obvious at times. It isn't the most slick looking movie and the effects aren't entirely convincing. Also the acting feels lacking, with the exception of a few good and convincing performances, for instance by Bruce Davison and Susan Blakely. Just a few things here and there that constantly make you aware of the fact that you're watching a low-budget production, made by a still mostly inexperienced crew.

Overall, I still was really impressed with this movie as well. I was surprised how well constructed it was and how it managed to keep my interest, despite some obvious weaknesses. It's far from the best or most thought provoking genre movies you will ever see, but it definitely is a decent genre attempt, that's well worth watching.

6/10

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Attack of the Killer Donuts (2016) Directed by Scott Wheeler




With a title such as "Attack of the Killer Donuts" you can only expect a comedy. And indeed, this is a full blown comedy, that isn't necessarily a spoof of the genre.

In a way this movie is a throwback to the '50's when these sort of 'silly killer' and 'monster' movies were popular but I can't really say that this movie is spoofing this particular genre as well. It's mostly just a movie that's featuring a silly concept, made for laughs, without referencing anything. The movie actually somewhat reminded me of the 1958 movie "The Blob", which is a comedy as well, that doesn't ridicule the genre.

No, I'm really not saying that this movie is as great and memorable as "The Blob" as well though. Far from it actually. It's a shame, since the movie seemed to have the right concept and approach to it in it but the movie itself remains lackluster and never makes full use of its potential.

The characters, story and comedy all seem fun but there's just something missing. Part of this is due to the fact that the movie is an extremely low-budget one, which shows. It's a bit of a clumsily movie to look at times, with some lacking directing, editing and special effects in it. It gives the movie a sort of cheap and unprofessional look, which doesn't work in its advantage. It's also being a bit too silly for its own good at times. Not all of the comedy works out and it's also definitely true that it's mostly the story that's keeping this movie down.

I can't even really say that there is much of a story in this. It also isn't necessarily following much of a plot and it's basically just 'a happening of events'. Events that aren't all that well written or convincing to begin with of course. It's lazy and never really creative enough with anything, while there really was plenty of room for it. Seriously, here you have a movie about 'killer donuts', yet the movie often is all over the place with its story and about a whole bunch of different stuff, except the killer donuts. As a matter of fact, there really isn't all that much donuts action in this, looking back at it.

And while the movie is fun it just never becomes a greatly entertaining one as well. It's funny at moments but more often than not it's being too much of a lame and simplistic movie, featuring a silly premise that never fully pays off. Horror-wise the movie is especially a weak one. There is no good gore, no real fun killings and certainly not any tension or good scares either.

Sure, it's still a fun enough little movie (especially while drinking), just don't expect anything too great from it. In a way it was a far better movie than I expect it to be, but at the same time I just can't call it an entirely good and successful one as well.

5/10

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Land of Smiles (2017) Directed by Bradley Stryker




Just the other day I was saying to myself how happy I was about finally seeing the whole 'found footage' genre dying down. And here I am...Watching yet another found footage movie, though in all honesty it's a quite original one with its approach and story but unfortunately it's just not being a very good movie as well.

It's a bit odd. I can't really tell what this movie was trying to do. On the one hand it seems like it wants to be as realistic as possible with its found footage approach, but at the other it's being a far from realistic one with the way the cameras are set up, the movie is edited and the story progresses. It's actually more of of a standard streamlined genre flick with it comes down to its story and way of storytelling. It works out well enough and it's actually somewhat of a refreshing approach when it comes down to found footage flicks but at the same time; it's still a found footage flick, meaning that it's suffering from most of the familiar genre clich├ęs and limitations.

Thing with found footage flicks is that you know it's all going to be buildup and not much is going to be revealed- or happen during its first hour or so. This movie does a pretty decent job setting up its mystery and tension but the story itself feels too much of a mess, which causes this movie to work out as a mostly ineffective and unappealing one to watch.

The story makes a few too many sudden convenient jumps and besides, it's not very hard to see where things are going and how the movie is going to end. There only are a handful of different characters in this movie, so it's not exactly hard to guess who's the 'killer' or mastermind behind all of the movie its happenings. It was hoping the movie was going to do and try something different and at times it seemed that the movie was really heading into that direction as well, but ultimately it's nothing more but just another mystery/horror science-fiction flick, without too many thrills or surprises in it.

It's even somewhat hard to call this movie even a horror. This actually is a good thing in my opinion. It was good to see how this movie was trying to combine different genres, even though in the end not everything worked out that well for it. It at least was good to see how the movie was trying to be original and different, within an already extremely tiresome genre. At the same time I do believe that this is going to scare off a whole bunch of other people, who expect a full blown horror movie. After all, the movie its cover really makes it seem like one.

A bit of a mixed bag. A movie with some good and some not so very good elements in it. Watchable but most definitely no must-see, by any means.

5/10

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The Night Watchmen (2017) Directed by Mitchell Altieri




While this movie is nothing special, it still remains a perfectly watchable one. It's some fine harmless, silly, simple entertainment, when you really have nothing better to do or watch.

It's not a very original or clever movie but at least it's being creative enough with its themes. It's a horror comedy, which in this case means that it's never truly an hilarious one but also never a scary one. It's a, not entirely successful, blend of comedy and horror, that luckily still manages to entertain. It's because the movie is very clear about what it wants to be. It never pretends to be anything more than a silly and far from realistic movie, that's filled with some crazy situations and over-the-top characters.

The comedy feels somewhat cheap and lazy at times but at the same time it's also the thing that keeps the movie going. It ensures that the story is always moving ahead and the movie never slows down for anything. It isn't trying to make sense of anything, which allows the movie to become as crazy as possible. And things do really get crazy at times. Not everything is to my taste, but hey, that's comedy. At least the movie never forgets to be entertaining.

For the horror lovers there also still is plenty to enjoy. The movie is being a pretty blood and gory one, even though most of it is being used for comedic effect. It just doesn't care. It mixes vampire movie elements in with zombies but no horror fan has ever complained about any zombie action. And it really are the zombie elements that are prevalent in the movie, which should really excite the genre-lovers. Plenty of gory fun for them to enjoy in this movie.

I just can't call this movie a great one as well though. It's just too simplistic for that. It's straightforwardness is its greatest strength, but a weakness as well. There aren't any real surprises in the movie and it basically does everything you expect it to do, which is good, but also means that the movie just isn't ever being original or clever enough with any of its ingredients.

The characters also are just nothing more than a bunch of stereotypes. The movie also doesn't really handle its characters very well, which makes them nothing more but a bunch of bland, uninteresting, cardboard characters. Another example of its simplistic- and somewhat lazy approach. None of the characters have an story-arcs and you never really get to know any of them.

A far from great movie but still a perfectly fun one to watch, if you're in the mood for some simple entertainment.

5/10

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Voice from the Stone (2017) Directed by Eric D. Howell




Yep, yet another dark and mysterious period piece featuring both thriller and horror elements, without ever truly becoming either a thriller or horror movie. Wish I could say it is more just another average attempt, that's decent to watch but far from anything too memorable.

It's the sort of the movie that's relies heavily on its style and tone but not necessarily on its story as well. It results in a pretty good movie to look at, but one that's never being engaging as well. The drama and mystery is not interesting enough to carry the movie and keep you interested in it. The fact that it's a slow paced movie isn't necessarily the problem with it but the fact that it's mostly being atmosphere and all buildup, is.

The problem with this sort of approach is that the payoff rarely lives up to its buildup. Unfortunately that's being the case for this movie as well. It's fine for a movie to be as mysterious as possible, as long as it some times gives you some information about anything. Else it's just being mysterious for the sake of it, without really having any good and surprising writing in it. I feel that that's being a bit too much the case for this movie as well. It starts off with a good and interesting enough premise but it too often loses its focus and features far too many needless distractions in it. At times the movie is about a whole bunch of different stuff, except its main story. It looses its main focus very easily, which means that the viewers will do the same.

It also seems indecisive on what it wants to be. Is it trying to be psychological thriller? A full blown horror movie? A period drama? It has elements of all these things in it, without ever turning into one thing. It's therefore hard to categorize this movie, which isn't necessarily a bad thing but it in this case makes things rather messy and unbalanced at times. Twists and surprises also don't always work out too well because of this and it makes the movie as a whole a somewhat unremarkable and forgettable one.

But really, it's not like I hate this movie. It's just that it's doing an awful lot 'wrong', which prevent this from ever turning into a very effective or remotely great one. It's good, it's decent, it's watchable but that's not much of a compliment really and I doubt that this was what the movie was aiming for.

There is denying that this is a pretty beautiful looking movie, that's otherwise well made as well. It's not flawed with its cinematography, costumes, set design and acting. It's still mostly the atmosphere and acting in the movie that makes- and keeps this movie a perfectly fine one to watch.

It's a pretty well cast movie, with some fine actors in it. Emilia Clarke is a great leading lady who manages to carry the movie on her own, for most part. She deserves more leading roles but she also deserves better movies. So far she just isn't very lucky with her movie picks but I'm hopeful that one day she'll have her definitive breakthrough on the big screen, rather than just TV. Who knows, maybe the Han Solo movie which she has scored a role in will bring her that much deserved luck and fame, that the Terminator sequel "Terminator Genisys" failed to bring.

Good enough to watch but you're not going to remember this movie in a couple of weeks from now.

6/10

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The Sex Addict (2017) Directed by Amir Mo




Well, well, well, what do we have here? Nothing too special, but it's a tasty little comedy-snack that's well paced and has plenty of laughs in it.

It's an incredibly simplistic movie, but at the same time that's also being its greatest strength. There's not much story actually and the movie seems to be mostly ab-libbed, but this can be a great thing when you have some capable actors involved with your projects. Amir Mo is such an actor. He very rapidly spews jokes left and right and his co-stars often go along very well with them. It results in some pretty absurd but hilarious moments at times and it's also hard not to enjoy or like this movie for what it is.

It's very successful at what it's trying to do. It's shot in a mockumentary style, which really adds to the fun. Not that it's ever a very convincing or remotely realistic mockumentary, but I doubt that this was the direction the persons involved were going for. Just a bunch of girls and guys having fun making a movie, without setting up too many boundaries for themselves. It still sort of follows a script and story, but it's mostly being secondary to the movie really and all really doesn't matter too much for it.

Still the movie goes a bit overboard at times when it does try to follow its story too closely. It's just a tad bit too ridicules at times and I definitely think it's going too over-the-top with it at parts, especially during its second half. The first half of the movie is definitely being the better and much more fun half of the movie. Not saying that the movie ever becomes a terrible one but it's just not the most consistent one either, unfortunately.

This basically just is a movie to have a good and fun time with, if you have nothing better to do and are in the mood for some good, harmless and silly laughs. And really, the title may sound raunchy but the movie actually is a very tame one, especially considering its themes and main subject.

6/10

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Stratton (2017) Directed by Simon West




It's nothing unusual and nothing to be ashamed of but it's still kind of sad to see Simon West do these type of low-budget action-flicks nowadays. I mean, he used to be a pretty decent and promising genre director back in the days, with movies such as "Con Air", "The Mechanic" and "The Expendables 2" behind his name. Not great movies but decent- and above all things, well made ones, with some good action and high entertainment level to them. How different from this movie.

No, it most certainly isn't a terrible movie to watch but it remains nothing more but a very bland and formulaic one nevertheless. And sure, while some of this has to do with budget restraints but there also is no denying the fact that the story has far too little to offer, in terms of originality and spectacle.

"Call of Duty" the movie, could be a way to describe this movie. Sounds awesome and while I sincerely believe that this movie got influenced by the popular gaming franchise but only an influence in story-type and approach, not necessarily in terms of quality and engrossment as well.

It's being a tad bit too simplistic with its story and twists, that never really come as a surprise. It's a huge problem that the movie is lacking any form of true originality. It does not only make the movie predictable but also somewhat tiresome. Things only get spiced up occasionally by some decent action, while the budget keeps it from ever turning into anything truly spectacular.

Guess it's still true that the action is being the best aspect about this movie. It's very obvious all throughout that Simon West is an experienced action director, especially when it comes down to the car chases in this movie. You'll definitely wake up again during those sequences, only to drift off again during all of the movie its other moments.

Things definitely could have spiced up by having a better and more likable main character in it. Dominic Cooper is just a bit uncharismatic to play the leading 'action-hero' in this. It's weird how this movie has plenty of great and well known actors in it but all of them are either being typecast of miscast. It's pretty weird for instance how the Danish born Connie Nielsen is playing a very British character in this. It never really feels or sounds right, while Nielsen herself remains a great actress. Some actors are terribly underused as well. What for instance was the point of having Derek Jacobi in this? Thomas Kretschmann as the main villain feels like a huge waste as well. Again, a perfectly fine actor, who however is given very little to work with.

It's still somewhat good to see how this movie is trying to take a modern approach to all of its terrorism themes but at the same time it's being far from engaging or entertaining to watch all. It only entertains- and grabs your attention at parts but as a whole the movie falls flat, due to its lack of real originality, spectacle, surprises and engaging enough characters.

5/10

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